Australian Open sensation Aslan Karatsev receives wildcard into Dubai

Rising Russian Aslan Karatsev, rising Australian star Alexei Popyrin, Austria’s Dennis Novak and Tunisian Malek Jaziri have all received a wildcard into the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships.

Karatsev, who made his maiden Grand Slam semifinal at this past Australian Open, is set to make his debut appearance on the hard courts of Dubai. 

Popyrin, who is enjoying a career-high ranking of No. 82 in the world following his win in Singapore, is set to make his main draw debut in Dubai. 

The Australian tried to make the Dubai main draw in 2017 and 2018, as well as last year, but every time fell short in his attempt. 

Popyrin lost in the qualifying first round in 2017 and 2020, while he made the qualifying final round in 2018.

World No. 98 Novak debuted at the Dubai event last year and now he is set to make back-to-back appearances at the tournament.

Last year, Novak won two qualifying matches and also beat Indian Prajnesh Gunneswaran in the first round, before losing to Karen Khachanov in the round-of-16.

Jaziri, ranked at No. 262 in the world, is set to make his eighth main draw appearance in Dubai. 

Jaziri’s best result in Dubai came in 2018, when he made the semifinal before losing to Spaniard Roberto Bautista Agut.

Karatsev hoping for a better result in Dubai 

Karatsev, who famously made the semifinal at Melbourne Park as a qualifier, returned to action this week at the Qatar ExxonMobil Open in Doha.

The Russian didn’t enjoy much success as he lost to world No. 4 Dominic Thiem in the round-of-16.

“We played in juniors 10 or 11 years ago, and we also practised in Vienna, so he wasn’t completely new to me,” Thiem revealed after beating Karatsev. “But he has raised his level so much in the past six months, especially last month in Australia.”

Karatsev plays against Egor Gerasimov in the Dubai first round.